At one time entertainers and musical performers would travel across the nation in private rail cars, performing in venues large and small.
Some of those venues were in Newton and Wichita — places like the now gone Ragsdale Opera House in downtown Newton.
That history will be the focus of “The Age of Stage in Newton & Wichita,” an online event hosted by the Harvey County Historical Society at 7 p.m. Oct. 20.
It is a history that Sam Jack of the Newton Public Library found quite colorful when researching Wichita.
“The first theater that was documented in Wichita was owned by a drag queen — a female impersonator who also juggled, clog danced and played the banjo,” Jack said.
He, along with Harvey County Historical Museum curator Kris Schmucker, will be talking about the history — and showing photographs of — the performers who took to the stage in the golden age of live theater, the 1880s through the 1910s.
Such stage stars as Sarah Bernhardt, Edwin Booth and Lotta…